(Bill Mott / Coady Photography)
(War Like Goddess / Coady Photography)
From the Breeders’ Cup Media Team:
Bill Mott (War Like Goddess, Channel Maker) – The Bill Mott-trained Longines Turf-bound duo of War Like Goddess and Channel Maker went out to the Keeneland dirt track in tandem at just past 9 on Thursday morning. Mott, on pony, escorted 9-2 morning line third-choice War Like Goddess assistant trainer; Neil Poznansky was astride Channel Maker.
Each a progeny of 2007 Turf winner English Channel, they come into the 12f grass test in varying form. While Wachtel Stable, Gary Barber, R. A. Hill Stable and Reeves Thoroughbred Racing’s 2020 Champion Turf Male Channel Maker is looking to regain his best, George Krikorian’s War Like Goddess could not be doing any better.
“She’s training well,” Mott said of War Like Goddess, who enters off a victory over males in the G1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational. “It would be great to win with her.”
“The owners are very excited to give him an opportunity to run and I think he would be the first to run six times, a record, at the Breeders’ Cup,” Mott said Channel Maker. “How’s he doing? Well, he’s doing fine … he’s doing great … but is he at his best from two years ago? Or has he lost a step at 8-years-old? Perhaps, but we’ll see how the race shapes up.
“He still ran a good race in his last race and he does love Keeneland,” Mott continued. “He was third and was beaten just a half-length in the Breeders’ Cup here and he won (the G2 Elkhorn) here earlier this year. According to the handicapper, there’s not a tremendous amount of speed in the race and he likes to be up close to the pace. If the pace and situation are right, maybe he can get a piece of it.”
Ontario-bred Channel Maker will be making his 49th career start. All nine of his career wins have come in stakes company, with four of those at the Grade 1 level.
Annapolis – Bass Racing’s Annapolis will attempt to become the 12th 3yo to win the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) presented by PDJF on Friday.
The 39th running of the race drew a full field of 14, including the most recent 3yo winner of the race in Order of Australia, a horse that Annapolis beat here last month in the Coolmore Turf Mile.
“That’s a tricky post for him,” trainer Todd Pletcher said of the 11 hole for Annapolis, who has had two works over the course since his victory Oct. 8. “He (jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.) is going to have to work out a good trip from there.”
When Order of Australia sprung his 73-1 upset here in the 2020 Mile, he broke from post 14.
Shirl’s Speight – In his only Keeneland start, Charles Fipke’s homebred Shirl’s Speight won the Maker’s Mark Mile in April. The 5yo had his final tune-up for the Mile at trainer Roger Attfield’s Woodbine base on Sunday before arriving at Keeneland around 7 p.m. Monday. In his most recent start, Shirl’s Speight was fourth in Ricoh Woodbine Mile Stakes Sept. 17.
With Attfield’s assistant Ally Walker aboard, Shirl’s Speight galloped 1 ½m Thursday on the 5f all-weather training track, a surface he prefers to dirt. Attfield observed while mounted on his white stable pony Frosty. The group also visited the saddling paddock. He said he is “very, very happy” as the Breeders’ Cup approaches.
“It is in the hands of the racing gods now,” he said.
Like most of the Attfield horses, Shirl’s Speight has a stuffed animal that hangs outside his stall door. Attfield says the toys keep the horses entertained and calm.
Shirl’s Speight is the product of two Breeders’ Cup winners. His Eclipse Award-winning sire Speightstown won the 2004 Sprint (G1) and his dam, Perfect Shirl, captured the Filly & Mare Turf (G1) in 2011.
After driving the 600 miles from Toronto, Attfield arrived in Lexington several hours after his horses settled in and was a welcome sight in the barn area. A regular at Keeneland each season with 18 stakes victories to his credit, Attfield did not have a starter this past race meet.
MAKER’S MARK FILLY & MARE TURF
Lady Speightspeare – A homebred for Charles Fipke, Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1) entrant Lady Speightspeare comes to Keeneland after capping a three-race graded stakes-winning streak in the Seaway Stakes (G3) at Woodbine on Sept. 17. In her final tune-up, the 4yo Speightstown filly breezed 5f in 59 4/5 on Woodbine’s all-weather surface on Sunday and arrived at Keeneland on Monday evening.
On Thursday, she galloped 1 1/2m on the main track. With Pauline Taupin aboard and accompanied by trainer Roger Attfield’s assistant Ally Walker on stable pony Frosty, she also spent time in the saddling paddock and starting gate. With Attfield standing nearby, she was outfitted with a special blanket designed to sooth nervous horses in the gate.
Attfield also shipped FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile Presented by PDJF (G1) contender Shirl’s Speight to Keeneland.
“They are coming into the races in great shape so I am confident that way,” he said. “Hopefully they get good trips. It is in the hands of the racing gods. If they run their races, they will be competitive.”
Attfield’s location is easy to spot because of the 3-foot stuffed toy animals hanging outside their stall doors. The unusual addition is typical for Attfield who is known for using toys to calm and entertain the horses.
“They get to really like them and I don’t have as many stall weavers and cribbers because they are not bored,” he said. “Some horses shred them in two seconds, so they get a rubber Jolly Ball toy instead. Generally, they seem to like the softness of them. They rub their heads against them and they go to sleep with them. Years ago, I had a filly that was tough to train and nasty in the stall. We gave her a stuffed animal and she became very manageable.”
Moira – Named for the entitled character in the popular TV series “Schitt’s Creek,” Moira has emerged as a star in her own right at Woodbine in suburban Toronto en route to the Filly and Mare Turf.
The 3yo daughter of Hall of Famer Ghostzapper completed the Woodbine Oaks-Queen’s Plate double this summer. She won the Oaks by 10 ¾ lengths. Against males in the historic Queen’s Plate, she won by 7 lengths and ran the 1 ¼ miles in 2:01.38, a stakes and track record. She was the 38th filly to win the Queen’s Plate and the 10th since 1956.
Bloodstock agent Donato Lanni, a native Canadian, purchased Moira as a yearling for $150,000 for his X-Men Racing partnership, Madaket Stables and SF Racing. She is 4-1-0 in six starts and has earned $902,128. In her most recent start, the E.P. Taylor, her first try on turf as a prep for the Breeders’ Cup, she finished second but was disqualified to eighth for interference in the stretch.
“I think she’s very talented. Against the 3-year-olds in Canada, she’s been dominant, right?” trainer Kevin Attard said. “We gave her a big test in the E.P. Taylor, against seasoned older fillies and mares. Although her number got taken down, I thought she ran very credible against those horses. Technically she ran second to a previous Group 1 winner from Europe, right. Considering that she is a 3-year-old filly kind of being tested for the first time, she handled herself very well.”
Moira showed so much promise as a 2yo that Attard and Lanni did not bother with maiden races and had her debut in a stake. She won by 4 ¼ lengths and has been in stakes company in every race.
Frankie Dettori has picked up the mount on Moira. They will start from the outside post in the field of 12 and are 10-1 on the morning line.
Caravel – Trainer Brad Cox is hoping that Qatar Racing, Marc Detampel and Madaket Stable’s 5yo Caravel, a multiple stakes winner can close out her career with a better performance in this year’s Turf Sprint after finishing 12th in the race last year. She comes in this year having won the Oct. 16 Franklin Stakes over the host course at Keeneland. She drew post of 10 of 14 for Saturday’s race. “I like the post,” Cox said. “Hopefully she breaks well, and maybe sets off a few that go quick. I think we’ll have to have some racing luck for her to get there, but it can happen. She’s doing so great. She had a run over the course and is coming back quick, but she’s doing great. She’s in the sale, so it would be nice for her run well.”
Casa Creed – Twelfth and eighth in the past two FanDuel Miles, globetrotting G1 winner Casa Creed will drop in trip when he contests the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint on Saturday. Trained by Bill Mott for LRE Racing and JEH Racing Stable, he will break from post 11 of 14 under Luis Saez, who has piloted him in all five his 2022 starts.
Kicking off the season in Saudi Arabia, he was a neck second to subsequent G1 Yasuda Kinen winner Songline in the $1.5 million 1351 Turf Sprint over about-6.75f around an American-style left-handed turn. Taken to Dubai, he ran in a straight-course sprint for the first time and finished a close fifth, beaten 2¼ lengths, in the G1 Al Quoz Sprint to A Case Of You. Fellow Turf Sprint competitor Naval Crown was a neck ahead in fourth that day.
Returning to the States, the bay 6yo entire struck in consecutive G1s, including the Jaipur at Belmont over 6f and 1m Fourstardave at Saratoga. He enters his third world championships off a somewhat disappointing fifth, beaten 2 lengths, in the G1 Coolmore Turf Mile at Keeneland.
“He’s good at both (sprint and mile) distances, but unfortunately, he’s probably a better horse going six to seven furlongs – that’s his ideal distance – and we didn’t feel that he really gets the mile over this particular turf course as well as he does at Saratoga or other places,” Mott explained. “He has won at a mile and even at a mile and a sixteenth at Saratoga, but it’s a little different type of turf course.”
Cazadero – A quick ROI, indeed, has been Qatar Racing, Marc Detampel, Fergus Galvin and Barry Clohessy’s Cazadero. Purchased for $50,000 at Keeneland’s April Horses of Racing Age Sale, the multiple graded stakes-winning son of 2006 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Street Sense has started twice for Brendan Walsh, including a fast-closing third in Saratoga allowance company Aug. 27 and then a visually impressive, victory in the Nearctic four weeks ago at Woodbine.
“We got him and he had been off for a long time and needed some kind of breaks in his training,” Walsh said. “We bought him with the intention of trying him on the grass. We thought he had enough grass in his pedigree to suggest that switching surfaces might help him.”
Bred by Stonestreet, and previously raced in its colors for Steve Asmussen, the bay 4yo gelding won the Bashford Manor in June 2020 as a juvenile and landed a 7f allowance to close out his 3yo season in June 2021. He had raced just once, finishing sixth in an Oaklawn optional claimer in January, before he was placed in the sale.
“If you told me when we bought him that he’d be running in the Breeders’ Cup, I would have told you were crazy,” Walsh said. “Then he ran great at Saratoga and came flying at the end, so then we decided to take a shot in Canada and here we are. It set up beautifully for him that day and hopefully this one will too. Obviously, there will be plenty of speed, so hopefully we can cut into that at the end. He’s a horse who will be fun to have for races in Saudi and Dubai, hopefully, because he’s really a six-to-seven-furlong type of horse, but hopefully he can get the five and a half on Saturday.”
Flavien Prat will be aboard for the first time on Saturday. The two were assigned a 20-1 morning line and will break from post 13 of 14.
Golden Pal, Arrest Me Red, Campanelle – Even if he picks up the records he is seeking, trainer Wesley Ward acknowledges that Turf Sprint will be a bittersweet race, the final start of his star Golden Pal before he goes to stud.
Ward will start three horses, Golden Pal, Campanelle and Arrest Me Red in the 5 ½f race. He has won the last three runnings of the race, and was second in the inaugural in 2018. A fourth straight victory break a tie with several others and make him the first trainer in the 39-year history of the event to win the same race four years in a row.
Golden Pal, Ward’s second winner in the Turf Sprint, is seeking his third win in the Breeders’ Cup. Twenty-two horses have won two Breeders’ Cup races. Just two, Hall of Fame members, Goldikova and Beholder, have three victories.
Ward said a third win would be a special achievement for the 4yo co-owned by the Coolmore partnership of Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Westerberg Limited.
“I think that says a lot for how I’ve been professing this horse to be so great from the onset,” Ward said. “The only thing that he hasn’t done that I wish he could do would be to go back to Royal Ascot and win The King’s Stand and he won’t get a chance to do that. But if he can win three Breeders’ Cups that really puts him in an elite company. That’s for sure.”
Golden Pal opened his 2022 season by winning the Shakertown on his home track at Keeneland. Ward’s hopes for a victory at Royal Ascot in June were dashed when jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. was distracted by an unruly horse behind the gate and missed the break.
In the Troy at Saratoga, Golden Pal had an uncharacteristic slow start, but showed grit to rally and win by a head.
“Our plan going in was to take him back. So that kind of helped us a little bit,” Ward said. “We want to kind of use that as a prep to if something happened, if in here in the Breeders’ Cup if the pace was hot that we could teach him something how to rate sit back off the pace. So it all worked out. He kind of didn’t come out as quickly as he has and after the first 10 jumps Irad got him to relax. When he turned for home off he went and he won. It all worked out according to what I wanted to teach him.”
Ward asked Ortiz to ride a typically aggressive race in the Woodford on Oct. 8 and Golden Pal led from gate to wire to stay perfect in four races at Keeneland and improve to 8-2-0 in 12 career starts. He has earned $1.8 million.
Ortiz and Golden Pal drew Post eight and are the 2-1 favorites on the morning line.
Lael Stable’ homebred Arrest Me Red by Pioneerof the Nile, will make his first start in the Breeders’ Cup. He has won six of 11 starts and 3 for 4 at the 5 ½f distance. In his most recent start, he was third by 1 ½ lengths in the Turf Sprint on Sept. 10 over the undulating course at Kentucky Downs.
Arrest Me Red has been overshadowed by his accomplished stablemate.
“If I didn’t have Golden Pal, I’d be singing his praises,” Ward said. “As you can see by his form, he’s never runs a bad race. He’s a hard-trier, and we’re spacing him out. He’s a big, heavy colt. Once we switched him back to the grass, he just took to it like a fish to water.
This is one that we’re going to be pointing for Ascot next year, as he’ll sort of move up to the top. We’ll be looking at The King’s Stand with him next year. So we’re gonna keep him here in Kentucky. In years past we’ve taken him to Florida. He’s really training very, very well. I’d be looking for him to run a big, big race.”
Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez returns to the saddle. The two, leaving from post 7, are 15-1 on the morning line.
Campanelle has compiled a brilliant resume in her three seasons on the track. The 4yo Irish-bred Kodiac filly owned by Stonestreet Stables has won six of 10 starts in Europe and America and earned $1 million.
“She’s a highly accomplished Group 1 winner in the Morny at 2 in France, won two races at Royal Ascot, was third this year against the colts going six furlongs,” Ward said. “Just comes in off a resounding win down at Kentucky Downs. She is coming into the race phenomenal. I am expecting a lot from her as well. The thing about her is that she is going to come from just slightly off the pace to where if it’s a hot pace up front she’s going to come running.”
Jockey Frankie Detorri, who rode her to her wins in Europe, will be aboard in the Turf Sprint. They will leave from post four and are 8-1 on the morning line.
Major Dude – Spendthrift Farm’s Major Dude, winner of the Pilgrim in his most recent start that served as his grass debut, will be attempting to give trainer Todd Pletcher a second victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) on Friday.
“He needs to work out a good trip from the 13,” Pletcher said. “That is my biggest concern. I like the way he has trained over the course.”
Irad Ortiz Jr., who was aboard for the first time in the Pilgrim victory, has the mount Friday.
In the first Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf run here in 2015, Hit It a Bomb came running late after breaking from post 14.
JUVENILE FILLIES TURF
Comanche Country – Little Red Feather Racing, Sterling Stables and Marsha Naify’s Comanche Country galloped 1 1/4m through the fog Thursday morning at Keeneland with exercise rider Romain Techer aboard one day before her anticipated start in the Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1). The Highland Reel filly was purchased privately by the current connections after her first start at Naas Racecourse in Ireland where she lost by a nose. She remained in Ireland for one more start in the Naas Fillies Sprint Stakes before switching trainers and making the move to Phil D’Amato’s barn in California.
“She just looked like a typical European filly, maybe a bit on the smaller side,” D’Amato said of his first impressions of the filly. “She had good bone and good body to her. She was just one of those typical two-year-old European fillies that I usually get.”
Comanche Country is undefeated in three starts since making the switch to D’Amato’s training program. Her most recent start was a victory in the Surfer Girl Stakes at Santa Anita Oct. 9. All her stateside wins have been on the turf going a mile, the same conditions for tomorrow’s Juvenile Fillies Turf.
“I think she’s very versatile and it’ll be up to (jockey) Umberto (Rispoli) to decide where he wants to be,” D’Amato said. “Whether he wants to be stalking or further back, I think she can do it all.”
Comanche Country will break from post one under Rispoli who has ridden her in her past three starts. She has morning line odds of 15-1.
Richard Fahey’s duo Midnight Mile (Juvenile Fillies Turf) and The Platinum Queen (Juvenile Turf Sprint) were the first horses out of the quarantine barn, both exercising on the training track.
Fahey, who was trackside, said, “Both horses are in good form. The draw for The Platinum Queen isn’t ideal in 12 but we’ll play with the card we’re dealt. She’s in great form and looks well. As for Midnight Mile she’s also in gate 12 in the other race but I’m not too worried about that for her. She’s straightforward and can be ridden in any way. They’ve both eaten and drank well all week so we’re ready for action tomorrow.”
John Gosden was trackside for the first time this morning. Nashwa (Filly & Mare Turf) was ridden by Hollie Doyle and Mishriff (Turf) was ridden by Frankie Dettori.
Hollie Doyle said, “I rode Nashwa this morning on the training track, and she felt good. She taken the trip really well so far. She’s very relaxed and I couldn’t be happier.”
“All is well with both horses and it’s great to be back at the Breeders’ Cup,” Gosden said after training. They traveled over well and have been training well. They were playful on the track this morning; they jogged and then had a solid canter. Mishriff is a horse that has suffered from the deep, heavy ground that you get at the end of the year. He tried hard in the Arc, but he couldn’t go on that ground, and it will be different here, because they will have fast going which is what he wants. Frankie has been in my ear about coming here all year, he thinks a mile and a half on an easy track will suit the horse. I am a bit concerned what will happen if he is slowly away, should that happen, he could pay the price, but he has broken well in his last two starts. I thought the one race that got away from him was the Eclipse, where if he’d got the rub of the green, he would have won. I was happy with his run in the Irish Champion where he was a little adrift of the field but look, he’s a tough cookie and a five-year-old full horse with a good appetite for the game. He loves traveling and he loves new environments, remembering he’s been to Saudi three times.
“Nashwa is a very good filly. She’s in good form, looks great in her coat. She was last off the bridle in the Epsom Oaks but hit the stamina wall. A mile and a quarter is her ideal distance. The 9 and a half furlongs will be sharp enough for her round here. She’s not been over raced, and we’ve had this race in mind for a long time. You need to plan to come over here, it can’t be an afterthought.
Hollie Doyle takes the ride. She’s the first lady rider to win a French classic race which she did in the Prix de Diane. She’s a tremendous person, with a great work ethic. She’s a very talented rider and reminds me of Julie Krone. She has serious determination. She’s flown in from Japan for the ride and can adapt to anything.”
Karl Burke arrived in Kentucky last night and was on track to see Dramatised (Juvenile Turf Sprint). Burke said, “She’s in good order and Lucy Brocklehurst who rides her is very happy. She traveled well and has done everything right since. Hopefully she runs a big race.”
Charlie Appleby who was recently crowned Champion Trainer in the UK for the second time was once again on track. His record of six wins from 11 runners at the Breeders’ Cup is described in the official media guide as “nothing short of sensational” and includes a hat trick of winners last year.
Appleby said, “We’ve been lucky, we’ve picked the right horses. The more you come over, the more you learn about each track. It helps us that we compete in America during the season, so that gives us a handle on how competitive we will be with certain horses.
“With Modern Games (Mile) I was delighted with what I’ve seen this week. Nations Pride (Turf) has that turn of foot that we saw in the Jockey Club Invitational, whereas Rebel’s Romance (Turf) is a bigger individual, a solid mile-and-a-half horse. I wouldn’t say he’s got the same acceleration. It’ll be more of an effort for him to get round the turns, whereas the other fella will slip round.
“Creative Force (Turf Sprint) being a hold-up type will need luck while Naval Crown (Turf Sprint) breaks well but is drawn in nine.
“Mischief Magic (Juvenile Turf Sprint) will relish any roughness in running. Silver Knott (Juvenile Turf) could end up being a potential French Derby horse, similar to Modern Games, hopefully. One race at a time.”
Joseph O’Brien who is back at the Breeders’ Cup after having a two-year absence due to being in Melbourne was on track to watch Above the Curve (Filly & Mare Turf) and Basil Martini (Juvenile Fillies Turf). O’Brien said, “It’s great to be back. The horses have traveled over very well, and I expect them to run well. We’re all very happy.”
Three Turf Sprint contenders Emaraaty Ana, Flotus and Highfield Princess went on to the turf track.
Adam Ryan assistant trainer to his father Kevin said of Emaraaty Ana, “It’s nice to be out here, the horse is looking well. He is used to traveling so we know he travels well. He ran really well at Del Mar last year (fourth) and the extra half furlong will suit better this time round. He’ll love the ground so hopefully he goes well.”
Flotus breezed on the turf under the watchful eye of trainer Ed Crisford who said,
“She worked this morning on the turf and did it well. She’ll be spot on for Saturday after that and I’m very much looking forward to the race.”
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